Current affairs

May at The Joy Club: Lindsey’s month of joy

31 May 2023 | Written by By Lindsey Betteridge

Lindsey reflects on her past month at The Joy Club, beginning with King Charles III’s Coronation and ending on the Yorkshire Moors…

The month of May brought us the Coronation of King Charles III and all its various celebrations. A lovely way to ease us into it all was being able to read about other members’ special memories in ‘Royal reflections‘, as well as other articles and poems about this special event. The Joy Club also provided a super audio recording to listen to at our leisure called ‘The History of coronations‘ by Prof Pippa Catterall. I found this fascinating and listened to it on a delayed motorway journey. I know the coronation wasn’t everybody’s cup of tea but, personally, I was glued to my sofa for much of the 6th May and – with all my new-found insight into the subject – I watched it all happening feeling so much more informed.

By the way, I really like the audio recordings, I think they’re really useful for when we’re either too busy to watch a recording or – like I was – in a situation where listening only is key. The Joy Club, it would be great if you could please provide us with some more!  

With all the bank holidays in May I really missed Erin’s ‘Low impact dance‘ class on Monday afternoons, so I was very pleased to see it back on 15th May. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs this is a super exercise class and I think some regulars of Erin’s were doing the class using the recordings in the intervening weeks. This is where I find I let myself down. Right from the moment I did my very first exercise class, as a new member back in January 2022, I knew I needed the accountability of a live class, where the instructor could see what I was doing and where I had the opportunity of asking questions there and then. I hadn’t had the confidence to go to any of the various classes held in local gyms or community centres and on a personal level (and I’m slightly ashamed to admit this) following a recording can be a little too easy to give up on.

Knowing other members are there on live zooms, having the opportunity for both a pre and post class chat and getting geared up, drawing from the team spirit with other members is definitely the way to go for me. Having said that, I have used recordings from the Tai Chi and Yoga classes after a live class to check I’m doing certain movements correctly, so they are still an invaluable resource for me. Thinking about it now, I’m thankful that I never felt able to do any local classes. If I was going out to do the five or six classes I’m currently doing each week, I’d be spending an absolute fortune instead of them all being included in the bargain price of my monthly membership to The Joy Club!      

At the end of April I joined the ‘Sixties sisters UK‘ event by Clive Hook, from his ‘They don’t write them like that anymore…’ series. I hadn’t joined any of his classes before but this sounded just my sort of thing and I really enjoyed it. Clive has a very entertaining and  comfortable way of presenting and, with his knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject, made it very easy to sit back and enjoy the music he played while taking on board the information he’d researched about the UK’s solo female singers of the ’60s that we all know and love. I relaxed and sang along (on mute, thankfully) and the time flew by. Afterwards I used The Joy Club’s new search bar to quickly see if there were any other recordings from Clive and was delighted to find another four in this series – I’ve already listened to the recording about the (non UK) ‘Sixties sisters’, equally as enjoyable and I’ll be working my way through the others! You could say I’ve become hooked on Clive Hook!  

With the better weather I’ve at last had the chance to really get out in the garden for some much-needed tidying up. That’s all I’m really capable of; I wouldn’t class myself as a gardener as plants and I do not tend to have a happy relationship and I need all the help I can get in keeping them alive. So the event entitled ‘Gardeners unite!‘ with Helen Brown on 16th May jumped right out at me.

I was a little concerned that this class might be for serious gardeners only, but thank goodness I joined, because it really wasn’t! We were asked about our level of gardening expertise and I was delighted that a fellow-minded member said she was only good at growing weeds! This is exactly how I feel and my garden was starting to fill with them. Apart from a few shrubs and bushes that were already established when I moved in, my garden tends to be limited to some summer bedding and tomato plants grown in patio tubs but Helen really inspired me when she showed us how she had designed and grown her garden literally from scratch in the Orkney islands. She only started two years ago and it now looks absolutely wonderful, despite the difficulties with the Orkney soil and all the setbacks she suffered.

This is the sort of inspiration I need, together with some hard work and determination to get my garden looking like I really want it to. Helen is doing further similar events and asked us members what sort of topics we’d like to cover in the future; this is so helpful and a genuine link between presenter and members is to everyone’s benefit. We were a mixed bunch on the call, with different questions and problems to resolve and it worked really well and I’m already looking forward to her next event on 13th June. I came away with a long list of ideas for some specific plant types for my recently acquired wooden troughs that I hope will sit on top of the 4ft wall between myself and my neighbours to give me some much needed privacy all year around. Out of all my classes this month, I think this was my most joyful.

Also on 16th May I joined Luke Wilkinson’s expert talk ‘Out on the wily windy moors: Exploring Wuthering Heights‘. Oh my goodness I could listen to Luke all day, he speaks from the heart, he clearly loves the subjects he discusses and it was a delight from start to finish. I had to be honest, when I was asked what I knew of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, I had to admit that I haven’t read the book or seen a film of it. Although, I have visited the village of Haworth a couple of times and been to the Bronte Parsonage museum, where the family grew up. Plus I’m easily old enough to remember Kate Bush’s vocal version first time around.

So I was honest and glad I was on with my fellow Joy Clubbers. These sessions feel rather like when I’m with my closest friends; it’s a safe space, I can be honest and ask any questions without judgement, without being made to feel foolish or less adequate than anyone else and this is so important to me, as I imagine it is for many members. Following Luke’s passionate talk about the author, the characters and the plot structure, together with some great photos I felt much wiser on the subject. He also  gave us details about the films and a series that’s been made so we could watch them if we wished to. I haven’t as yet found anywhere I can watch for free, but I have got myself the Penguin paperback (God bless the charity shops) and have found the audio, serialised version on BBC Sounds – which is just right for me as I can listen to it in bitesize pieces while I’m getting on with other things.    

Finally I joined another of Valentina’s brilliant monthly Nutrition classes on 19th May, this time for ‘Skin health‘. As always, it was really informative and very insightful. As I’ve been attending these classes for over a year I’ve now started to go over the same subjects again but it doesn’t matter, a refresher is never a problem and I’m always coming across things which I’d forgotten all about. I love how Valentina takes on board members’ comments and ideas and even includes some of them into her updated presentations. She also sends the key slides from each presentation in pdf format which is really useful, as I download these to keep and print out and I now have the printouts from all of her classes in a plastic wallet, kept with my cookery books for quick and easy reference when I want to remind myself of something. Perfect. 

Want to see what’s coming up next month? See our full events calendar here.

Want to continue reading?

This piece is part of our exclusive articles for members. We post new interviews, features and stories every single day, so sign up to continue reading - today and every day!

Sign up and start your free trial today

Already a member? Log in to read the full post